Massage Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Massage?

Massage is the practice of rubbing and kneading the body using the hands. During a massage, a massage therapist will apply gentle or strong pressure to the muscles and joints of the body to ease pain and tension. A massage therapist is a person trained in giving massages.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Massage in the following subject areas:

  • Full Body Massage Course – The study of the techniques for full body massage.
  • Massage Course – This course provides an opportunity to interact with and learn from very successful, highly qualified, and experienced professionals in the field of massage.
  • Hot Stone Massage Course – A study of the methods and techniques of Hot Stone Massage.
  • Diploma in Holistic Massage – Holistic Massage is a treatment designed to bring about a state of relaxation and reduce muscle tension and stress.
  • Indian Head Massage (ITEC Certified) – Based on an ancient Ayurvedic healing system this therapy is a wonderful de-stressing massage focusing on the head, neck, shoulders, and upper back.
  • Massage and Aromatherapy: An Introduction – This ‘hands-on’ class will enable you to learn useful massage and aromatherapy techniques.
  • Sports Injury Prevention and Massage Therapy – Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills required for working within the area of sports injury prevention and sports massage therapy in the sports, coaching, recreation, and leisure industries.
  • Certificate in Japanese Massage – This course focuses on developing your awareness of the client’s body with an emphasis on using the traditional methods of Japanese massage therapy.

Studying Massage in college

There are many courses in Massage that take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. By job shadowing and carrying out work experience assisting a professional in the field you’ll gain valuable insight and build a network of contacts and demonstrate your commitment to the profession. Observation is one of the best ways to learn skills and techniques.

Career options

After completing a Massage course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of beauty, hair, and skin treatments and techniques.

As a Massage Therapist, you are likely to work within a spa or other alternative healthcare setting or a specific field such as sports massage. You may choose to work in a facility to start and then progress to open your practice and become self-employed.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. Massage Therapists typically work 37.5 hours a week, but you are likely to work at the weekend, and in private practice, your hours will reflect the needs of your clients.

Related jobs include:

  • Massage Therapist
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Reflexologist
  • Chiropractor
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Physical Therapist Aide
  • Fitness Trainer and Aerobics Instructor
  • Skin Care Specialist
  • Naturopathic Physician
  • Acupuncturist
  • Exercise Physiologist

Further study

After completing a course in Massage you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as physiotherapy, chiropractic care, or physical therapy.


What is the purpose of massage?

People use massage for a variety of health-related purposes, including relieving pain, rehabilitating sports injuries, reducing stress, increase relaxation, address anxiety and depression, and aid general wellness.

What is the benefit of body massage?

One of the immediate benefits of massage is a feeling of deep relaxation and calm. This occurs because massage prompts the release of endorphins – the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that produce feelings of wellbeing. Levels of stress hormones, such as adrenalin, cortisol, and norepinephrine, are also reduced.

What are some of the different types of massage?

Several types of massage focus on different parts of the body or a healing approach.

  • Swedish massage is a gentle type of full-body massage that’s ideal for people who are new to massage, have a lot of tension, or are sensitive to touch. It can help release muscle knots, and it’s also a good choice for when you want to fully relax during a massage.
  • The hot stone massage is best for people who have muscle pain and tension or who simply want to relax. This type of therapeutic massage is similar to a Swedish massage, only the massage therapist uses heated stones instead of or in addition to their hands. It eases muscle tension, improves blood flow, and relieves pain by using heated stones. 
  • Aromatherapy massages combine soft, gentle pressure with the use of essential oils. Your massage therapist will usually decide which essential oils to use, but you can let them know if you have a preference.
  • Deep tissue massage uses more pressure than a Swedish massage. It’s a good option if you have chronic muscle problems, such as soreness, injury, or imbalance. It can help relieve tight muscles, chronic muscle pain, and anxiety.
  • Sports massage is a good option if you have a repetitive use injury to a muscle, such as what you may get from playing a sport. You may also use sports massage to increase flexibility and performance.
  • Trigger point massages are best suited for people who have injuries, chronic pain, or a specific issue or condition. Sometimes areas of tightness in the muscle tissues, known as trigger points, can cause pain in other parts of the body. By focusing on relieving trigger points this type of massage can reduce pain.
  • Reflexology is best for people who are looking to relax or restore their natural energy levels. It’s also a good option if you aren’t comfortable being touched on your entire body. Reflexology uses gentle to firm pressure on different pressure points of the feet, hands, and ears.
  • Shiatsu massage works the whole body, but your therapist may focus on areas of your body that need extra attention. During the massage, your therapist will use their hands, palms, and thumbs to massage certain points of your body.
  • Thai massage works the entire body using a sequence of movements that are similar to yogic stretching. Your therapist will use their palms and fingers to apply firm pressure to your body. You’ll also be stretched and twisted into various positions.
  • Prenatal massage can be a safe way for women to get a massage during pregnancy. It can help reduce pregnancy body aches, reduce stress, and ease muscle tension.

Where can I study Massage?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· There are approximately 5 million touch receptors in our skin which is the largest organ of the body.

· Touch is the first sense to develop in humans.

· Massage increases serotonin levels that play an important role in the regulation of one’s mood, sleep, and appetite. A 60-minute massage offers the same benefits as 7-8 hours of sleep does for your body.

· With Egyptian tomb paintings depicting people receiving Massage Therapy, it is believed that Massage was one of the oldest forms of medical care known to man.

· Massaging the top, middle, and bottom of the outer earlobes once per day has been found to strengthen the immune system.

Mariza Halliday

Beauty Technician Courses
Clinical Speech and Language Studies


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